2021 Toyota Avalon Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine & electrical issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Launched in the U.S. in late 1994 for the 1995 model, The Toyota Avalon is the company’s largest front-wheel-drive sedan. For years it has been the flagship vehicle in the U.S. and Canada, as well as several other countries.

But, Toyota announced in August 2021 that it will end production of the Avalon in August 2022.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2018

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Toyota Avalon

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
2
Service Brakes
2
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
1
Vehicle Speed Control
1
Power Train:automatic Transmission
1
Tires
1
Electrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel
1
Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking
1

The Avalon is currently in its fifth generation, and it offers several different options including a hybrid drivetrain. The reason for its demise is blamed largely on the soaring popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and the declining popularity of large, luxurious sedans.

Avalon sales figures peaked at 104,078 units in 2000, and then started dropping. In 2005 they were still high, at 95,318 units. But the closest they have got to these in the past decade was 70,990 in 2013. In 2020 they dropped to an all-time low of 18,421. The 2021 figures, at 18,280 are slightly worse. So, clearly, sales aren’t getting better.

While the Toyota Avalon has a reputation for reliability, there have been lots of consumer complaints over the years. The first 1995 model has a total of 85 complaints lodged with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The last of these was in February 2014.

Lemberg Law highlighted complaints about the 2019 model in an article, 2019 Toyota Avalon Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon? This highlights issues with the electrical system, the fuel system, transmission, and the sedan’s headlights.

There are 5 complaints on file about the 2020 model, all of which were lodged with the NHTSA in 2021. So far, there are 3 complaints about the 2021 model, one of which reports a crash. There are also recalls for both these models.

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Toyota Avalon

The complaints about the 2021 Avalon involve 4 components and systems. These are back-over prevention, the electrical system, the engine, and the brakes of the car. One is listed as an electrical system and engine problem.

It is surprising that there aren’t any complaints about the 2021 Toyota Avalon airbags or steering, because there’s a recall that affects both 2020 and 2021 Avalon models. The issue is that breakaway pins in the car’s steering column may have been damaged during production. Because these were designed to absorb energy and in this way reduce injury in a crash, the performance of the car’s airbags may be compromised.

2021 Toyota Avalon Electrical & Engine Problems

This complaint states that the electrical system/engine problem experienced has recurred numerous times. What happens while driving is that all the instrument control panel lights illuminate. As a result, the owner has taken the vehicle to a local dealer 8-9 times in an attempt to diagnose and fix the problem.

The initial diagnosis was that “there was moisture in the brakes, the brake assembly, sensor harness, sensor in the grill, gear shifter, and (the) hybrid sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, failure recurred.”

This time, “while driving, the instrument panel, warning lights illuminated, and the hybrid system overheated. The pullover somewhere safe message was displayed. The steering wheel was stiff. The brake pedal was stiff and failed to depress.” As a result, the driver “was unable to control the vehicle and drove into a ditch, was airborne and crossed to the other side of (the) road.”

Luckily the driver was able to drive away from the scene, but the vehicle shut down and failed to start. The vehicle was towed to the driver’s place of business. There were no reported injuries, fire, or deployment of airbags.

When the accident occurred, there were only about 800 miles on the clock. There was a state trooper on the scene but the driver didn’t file a police report or notify the manufacturer about the failure.

2021 Toyota Avalon Back Over Prevention Problems

The back-over prevention complaint is considered “very dangerous” by the complainant who believes it should be a recall item. The complaint states:

“The Rear Cross Traffic Warning signal is installed behind (the) rear headrest, which muffles the alert sound to barely audible, even when (the) setting is on high. Vanandergriff Toyota dealership in Arlington, Tx. verified this information to me after bringing my car in four times for service because I was not being warned of persons and vehicles passing behind me. I’ve called Toyota’s home office and (have been) told nothing can be done, as it was installed this way, although I am still asking they remove muffling material or change (the) location of warning equipment.

“It is very dangerous, as persons and cars are not always visible due to parking location or blind spots. This should be a recall item. All other warning signals on (the) front of (the) car work properly. I was told by (a) company representative to just use drive-through parking!”

After being advised to contact Toyota’s customer service and the dealership in Arlington, Texas where it was purchased, the consumer was told again that nothing can be done to fix the problem.

2021 Toyota Avalon Brake Problems

The person who laid this complaint with the NHTSA has driven several 2021 Avalon cars and has had the same problem with every one of them.

“Every Avalon 2021 I have driven, or the dealership has driven, there is a thunk when braking. Every car, every time. A tech case was opened at Wesley Chapel Toyota and Toyota of Tampa Bay 01-02-2021. New car was purchased 01-13-2021.”

What to do if your 2021 Toyota Avalon is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Vehicles with recurring problems and issues that threaten safety and your ability to use the car may result in it being classified as a lemon.

If you think you have bought a lemon, the best thing to do is consult a reputable lemon law firm like Lemberg Law. We can help negotiate a settlement if it is indeed a lemon. We’ve done this for many clients over the years.

All you have to do is contact our Helpline. We will evaluate your problem and see how we can help.

The law says Toyota must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases. So, you won’t have to pay anything.

Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Speed Control
DateOct 18, 2022
StateNY
Description
Stopped working with a message ' radar control in not available'
CategoryEngine, Power Train:automatic Transmission, Service Brakes
DateAug 18, 2022
StateNE
Description
The contact owns a 2021 toyota avalon. The contact stated while diving approximately 50 mph, the engine and transmission warning lights illuminated. The contact also stated that the windshield had detached from the frame. The contact stated that the rear doors were failing to close correctly. The contact stated the vehicle would roll with the brake pedal depressed before coming to a stop. While driving approximately 75 mph, the steering wheel fractured and the air bags inadvertently deployed. Additionally, the headlamps and turn signals also failed to operate as needed. The vehicle was returned to the dealer who stated that front door master switch, the pillar and racket, the brakes, the headlamps, and turn signals needed to be repaired or replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure persisted. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 2,500.
CategoryTires
DateMay 17, 2022
StateFL
Description
Bridgestone turanza el440bw 235 45r18 94v is original equipment on my 2021 toyota avalon hybrid. Mileage at the time of the incident was 11398. I saw what appeared to be splitting or separation of the lower depth of the tread. No loss of pressure. I brought it to the toyota dealer to check. They insisted I must have hit something and would not consider it a manufactures warranty. I replaced the tire out of safety concerns. I do not recall hitting or going over anything. I am attaching photos of the condition. I replaced the one tire with the same make and model but remain concerned that splitting of the tread could be dangerous. And still have 4 like tires on the car.
CategoryElectrical System: Instrument Cluster/panel, Engine
DateMar 15, 2022
StateAL
Description
The contact owns a 2021 toyota avalon hv. The contact stated that while driving, all the instrument control panel lights were illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer eight or nine times where it was diagnosed there was moisture in the brakes, the brake assembly, sensor harness, sensor in the grill, gear shifter, and hybrid sensor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. However, failure recurred. The contact stated that while driving the instrument panel, warning lights illuminated, and the hybrid system overheated. The pull over somewhere safe message was displayed. The steering wheel was stiff. The brake pedal was stiff and failed to depress. The contact was unable to control the vehicle and drove into a ditch was air borne and cross to the other side of road. The contact was able to drive away from the scene, but the vehicle shutdown and failed to start. The vehicle was towed to contact's place of business. There were no reported injuries, fire or air bag deployment. There was a state trooper on the scene but there was no police report filed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 800.
CategoryBack Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking
DateJan 26, 2022
StateTX
Description
The rear cross traffic warning signal is installed behind rear head rest, which muffles the alert sound to barely audible, even when setting is on high. Vanandergriff toyota dealership in arlington, tx., verified this information to me after bringing my car in four times for service because I was not being warned of persons and vehicles passing behind me. I've called toyota's home office and told nothing can be done, as it was installed this way, although I am still asking they remove muffling material or change location of warning equipment. It is very dangerous, as persons and cars are not always visible due to parking location or blind spots. This should be a recall item. All other warning signals on front of car work properly. I was told by company representative to just use drive-through parking! Consumer contacted toyota customer service and the dealership in arlington, tx. Where it was purchased. Consumer was told nothing can be done to fix the problem.
CategoryService Brakes
DateJan 22, 2021
StateFL
Description
On every avalon 2021 I have driven or the dealership has driven there is a thunk when braking. Every car every time. A tech case was opened at wesley chapel toyota and toyota of tampa bay 01- 21-2021 new car was purchased 01-13-2021

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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